A quarter of shoppers have been let down by an online order since Covid crisis, new survey finds


A quarter of shoppers (24%) have been let down by an online order since the Covid crisis, according to a new survey. 

It found that 34% of consumers say that unreliable delivery has lessened their trust in online shopping since the start of the pandemic.

Almost four out of ten buyers (38%) say online deliveries are taking longer to arrive since social distancing restrictions were introduced in March.

The survey of 2,000 consumers from Brightpearl, which provides digital operations solutions for some of the world’s biggest retail brands, showed a huge shift to online shopping since the start of the crisis which is likely to accelerate in 2021, especially with new lockdown restrictions in place.

However, while increasing numbers of shoppers are switching to online, there is a ‘crisis of confidence’ in some consumers over the reliability of many retailers’ online deliveries.

The most unreliable region for online deliveries was the North East with 28% of shoppers saying they had not received an order online since the crisis started, followed by Scotland (25.5%), Yorkshire and the Humber (25.2%), North West (24.8%), South East (24.5%), West Midlands (23.8%) and London (23.8%). The most reliable region for online orders was the East Midlands where only 20.1% of shoppers missed a delivery.

The slowest online orders were in East Anglia, with 42.2% of shoppers saying deliveries were taking longer since Covid, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (41.9%), West Midlands (40.9%), North East (40.2%) and the South East (39%). The region with the quickest deliveries was Wales with just 32.3% of shoppers saying deliveries were taking longer.

Brightpearl found that half of shoppers (49%) had re-evaluated their spending since the crisis started, resulting in them becoming less materialistic.

Pre-Covid a third of shoppers (31%) were regularly purchasing online and this figure has shot up to 48% since the crisis started.

Some 43% of consumers are now buying things online more than normal, with 65% expected to increase online purchasing in 2021.

Despite the increases in online shopping habits, almost two-thirds of shoppers (63%) say they will need to be ‘very careful’ with their money over the next year and 40% have already cut down on ‘frivolous’ spending.

One of the main shifts in spending habits since Covid has been the switch to more local retailers and a move away from chains.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (63%) say they will shop more locally over the next year and 60% say they will buy from independent retailers.

Amazon still dominates online, and is set to be an even bigger winner over the next twelve months with 55% of consumers saying they will use it more in 2021 but 30% of shoppers say they do feel ‘guilty’ about abandoning physical stores for the ease of Amazon.

Brightpearl also uncovered some surprising new data about the buying experience for most consumers, with only 7% being influenced by how well the website functions, and just 5% of shoppers caring about the brand name.

The survey revealed that 41% of shoppers also plan to increase their Click & Collect use next year as a result of Covid.

Almost half of shoppers (45%) are now buying things online that they only previously bought in-store and 40% of buyers are less likely to shop in-store than they were before Covid.  

Brightpearl CEO Derek O’Carroll said: “There has been a big shift to online post-Covid but concern over delivery reliability has created a crisis of confidence in some consumers. Brands could still suffer or miss out on this digital opportunity if they don’t improve service, especially after the buy button.

“With Brits stuck at home until December, ecommerce brands are going to have to up their game and make online deliveries faster, more reliable and flexible, or there may be some very disappointed consumers.

“The bulk of Christmas shopping is projected to be online this year because of the second lockdown, and trust has never been more important.

“Shoppers want more choice in their delivery options, whether that’s same-next day delivery, or Click & Collect.

“The survey highlighted some surprising findings. As brands, we obsess about how the website looks and feels, but it’s really only important to a small group of shoppers, with the majority prioritising service reliability and speed of delivery.” 

Brightpearl has distilled the data into a new report on the habits, categories and spending of shoppers over the next 12 months which can be found here.

Bristol-based Brightpearl works with thousands of retailers introducing software that puts orders, inventory, financials, POS (point of sale) and CRM (customer relationship management) in one place.